Monday, November 12, 2012

Where are the black sitcoms?

Have you noticed the legal segregation on television? You're probably wondering how is segregation legal on television. How many black sitcoms do you see on television, on regular channels that is; CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, UPN and WPIX. As far as I can remember CBS never had black shows, interesting. Now we have to rely on TVOne, Centric and BET to watch black shows. It didn't happen over night. It was a slow unexpecting process. That makes me think back to a time when there was black sitcoms on television.

During the 1940's -1960's there were only white sitcoms. Yes, blacks had roles in sitcoms but I'm talking about an all black cast. But that changed in 1968 when a show called "Julia", starring Diahann Carroll aired. That set a mark for the 1970's and beyond. During the 1970's, there was
"Baby, I'm Back"               "Good Times" 
"Sanford and Son"            "The Bill Cosby Show" (not the one your thinking about) 

"The Jeffersons"               "The Flip Wilson Show"

"That's my Mama"           "What's Happening!!"

These were the most popular. Many African Americans could and still can relate to these shows. It was a hit. Television had color, people of color that is. Out of these shows, "The Jeffersons" was the longest running sitcom lasting 11 seasons going into the mid 80's.

During the 1980's there were 
"227"                                   "A Different World" 
"Amen"                                "Different Strokes" 
"Gimme A Break"               "The Cosby Show" 
"The Redd Foxx Show"      "Webster" 
"What's Happening Now!!"

All these shows and some others made it's lasting mark for black sitcoms on television. The major black sitcom of all was "The Cosby Show". "The Cosby Show" set a positive light on African Americans on television by projecting a hard-working mother who was a lawyer and a father who was a doctor at home raising 5 kids. "The Cosby Show" really shaped and shook television.

That show lasted through the mid 1990's coming into a booming era of black shows on television. Let's see there were
"Arsenio"                                             "City Guys" 
"Cosby"                                               "Family Matters" 
"Hanging with Mr. Cooper"               "Here and Now" 
"Homeboys in Outer Space"               "In Living Color" 
"In the House"                                    "Kenan &Kel" 
"Living Single"                                   "Malcolm and Eddie" 
"Martin"                                             "Moesha" 
"On Our Own"                                    "Out All Night" 
"Roc"                                                  "Sister, Sister"
 "Smart Guy"                                      "South Central" 
"Sparks"                                             "The Fresh Prince of Belair" 
"The Jamie Foxx Show"                    "Parent Hood" 
"The PJs"                                           "Sinbad Show" 
"Steve Harvey Show"                        "The Wayans Brothers" 

This is just a few. Black shows was a HUGE hit in the 1990's. We had our Thursday night line up after "The Cosby Show" went off the air. Thursday night line up on FOX consist of  "Martin", "Living Single", and "New York Undercover". Monday nights we had "Fresh Prince of Belair" and T.G.I.F. (Friday shows) was "Family Matters", "Own Our Own", Sister, Sister". There was so many options. It was heaven on television for black sitcoms.

The success of black sitcoms continued into the 2000's but began to decrease. There was 
"All About the Anderson"                      "All of Us" 
"Cory in the House"                              "Eve" 
"Everybody Hates Chris"                     "For your Love" 
"Girlfriends"                                         "Half & Half"  
"Meet the Browns"                               "Method &Red" 
"My Wife and Kids"                              "One on One"  
"Romeo"                                               "That's So Raven" 
"Bernie Mac Show"                              "The Boondocks" 
"The Game"                                         "The Hughleys" 
"The Parkers"                                      "The Proud Family" 
"The Tracey Morgan Show"                 "True Jackson VP" 
"House of Payne"                                 "Soul Food"

It seems like a lot of black shows but it was shown sporadically throughout the 2000's and the shows didn't last for too many seasons.

Between 2010-2012 there was only
"Hawthrone"                           "Rickey Smiley Show"
"Let's Stay Together"              "Love That Girl"
"Reed between the Lines"        "The Soul Man"
"For Better or Worse"

(What are major decrease of Black Sitcoms!)
But these shows are on black own television channels. African Americans have to rely on TvOne, Centric and BET to watch black sitcoms. Some cable and satellite dishes doesn't carry these channels. On TvOne and Cenetric, they play a lot of re-runs of the black sitcoms. So why aren't there sitcoms on "regular" stations anymore? Yes, it's the reality, singing and dancing contest era but there are still slots for t.v. sitcoms and hour shows. There haven't been ANY black sitcoms on the main stations since 2009. There is now nostalgia of black sitcoms as we now rely on the re-runs of black sitcoms. So where are the black sitcoms? Are the black television channels, TvOne, BET, and Cenetric, a new place for upcoming black sitcoms because "main television stations" have given up on black sitcoms?


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